BENGALURU : Social media has become a necessity in the lives of many people. Everyone now breathes and talks social media. But there are a few people, especially, ones in their 20s who have simply decided to quit online media, because they find it boring or depressing. The number of such people is growing in the city as they prefer wishing their friends on their birthdays over calls or when they meet personally to a comment on the Facebook page.
‘What are friends for?’
Deeksha Pandey, a 20-year-old, is adamant on not using social media. She quit the online networking platforms three years ago. According to her, social media takes out the essence of meeting people in a personal environment. The undergraduate student says, “‘It was mentally affecting me and the social media is a never ending one which led me to deactivate it soon’.
Deeksha was the first among her group of friends to deactivate her social media accounts. She manages to escape her friends’ constant nagging by saying ‘it’s my personal choice’. When Deeksha was on social media, she was not able to give time to her hobbies as well as academics as it consumed most of her free time. It led to her decreasing interest in reading books and socialising outside her home. This led to mood swings. She realised being off social media is the best gift she could give herself as it gave her the space for her hobbies including frequent visits to cafes with friends and reading books.
When asked about how she keeps herself updated about what’s happening in the lives of the people, she laughs and replies, “What are friends for.”
‘Online, it’s always about other people’
Another student Kavya’s life was also earlier bound to social media. Being the most popular girl of her school, she had over 500 friends on Facebook, but only 300 kept in touch and conversations soon reduced to just likes on her profile pictures. This infuriated her to such an extent that she deactivated her accounts. She feels that social media makes your world revolve around the activities of other people’s life. She recalls the Teacher’s Day celebration at college. “When the cake was being cut, out of 30 students present, 27 of them were busy snap chatting the whole event. People tend to lose the moments which they should be living and not busy capturing on their phones.”
She shares another instance where most of her friends wished her on Facebook or tagged on her Instagram rather than giving a phone call or meeting her for her birthday. She says her friends panicked when she deactivated her accounts. They asked her how would they know what’s going on in her life to which she says, “I will be just a phone call away.”
‘I don’t want to be victim of cyber crime’
Kavya is not the only one who calls social media a fake world. Tameena Ali, a 27-year-old media professional, also feels it is better meeting and catching up with your close friends than chatting with ‘fake’ people online. She too was once addicted to social media until she realised how these platforms could be misused. “My boyfriend would post pictures tagging me on Facebook and I didn’t like that. I also realised that pictures can be easily downloaded and misused. So, I stopped using it.” It has been eight years since she has gone online on Facebook to post a status or to tweet.
She adds that she does not find these platforms safe. “Now you see an increase in the number of cyber crimes too and I do not want to be a victim of that,” she says.
‘I own a basic handset’
Ayush Thakur, 19, bought a basic Nokia handset eight months ago which allows him to only make calls and messages. He says, “The only notifications that disturb me now are by mobile service provider. I love my handset phone as I enjoy playing my favourite game Snakes and it reminds me of my childhood.”
(With inputs from Shaloni Sahoo)
On social media due to studies or work
While many have deactivated their social media accounts, there are several others who want to deactivate them but are unable to, not because of addiction, but work or studies. Shravani Thorat was forced to install WhatsApp again as the exam was nearing and she didn’t want to miss any important news. She says, “The tagging on memes and sharing media isn’t my thing.” She plans to deactivate again. “As soon as the academic session gets over, I am uninstalling my WhatsApp so that I can enjoy my holidays.”
Alieen Joseph, a 20-year-old student finds social media stressful. She kept away from social media for a while but she kept on loosing important messages related to college assignments which kept her outside the loop. She says she also got to know about a surprise party for her friend a day before as she was not available on WhatsApp. This made her install it again and though she spends hardly one hour on it daily, she says it at least keeps her updated about the activities in college. “Now since I am interning, it is hard to keep up the communication without WhatsApp. But I plan to uninstall it whenever I think it isn’t necessary.”